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Blu-ray Review

DVD cover



Starring: Tom Cruise, Mia Sara, Tim Curry and David Bennent
Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment
RRP: £15.99
Certificate: PG
Available 06 February 2012

The world is at peace. The Unicorns rule and they know only love and laughter, but the Dark Lord who has for too long been confined to the depths of the earth will no longer accept his fate and embarks on a plan to kill the unicorns and corrupt and marry the princess…

New to Blu-ray, Legend is presented in two versions, with both the longer, director's cut, (1985 - 1 hr, 53 min, 11 sec), as well as the original theatrical cut (1 hr, 33 min, 23 sec) the second of which has a much cleaner, grain free picture.

Directed by Ridley Scott, from a William Hjortsberg script, the film is visually arresting, each frame carefully crafted. Scott has used the same keen eye for detail to create a believable environment, although visually different to Alien and Blade Runner this attention to detail links the three films with a dark noirish feeling, though here it is heavily overlaid with Jean Cocteau's La Belle et La Bête.

The film opens with the Dark Lord putting his plan into action, by sending three goblins up into the world to kill the unicorns. They are only able to do this by playing on their attraction to human innocence. Their bait is the Princess Lili, who is taken by Jack to see the unicorns. Although it is forbidden to approach the unicorns, Lili sings to them, pulling one towards where she stands. When it is close enough the goblins use a poisoned dart to bring the creature down and cut off its horn. With Lili gone, chasing the goblins, Jack set out to rescue his love before she is married to The Dark Lord.

Thematically, the film deals with the female power of creation and destruction. Lili, becomes the cause of the world’s woes, when she ignores Jack’s protestations not to approach the unicorns. The seed of destruction lies within her. Her discussion with Jack about her possible marriage means that she is moving away from the innocence of her youth to the grey area of sexual adulthood. The last surviving unicorn is female, holding the hope of creation, through sexual congress, should it turn out to be pregnant. So, sex is seen as both a corrupting and renewing force.

Although, the two main leads, Tom Cruise (Jack) and Mia Sara (Lili) do well in their roles, Cruise is particularly effective; the film is stolen by the deliciously over-the-top portrayal of the Dark Lord by Tim Curry in his memorable, massively twin horned, costume.

All the tropes of a fairy story are held within the film and to some extent the overall tale lacks some originality but, given the history of fairy tales stretches back many hundreds of years, you either have to choice to branch off into something truly original (in which case, at what point does it stop being a fairy story?) or you can accept the archetypes of the genre and be accused of a lack of originality. Scott wanted to film a fairy tale and so a fairy tale is what you get.

The remastered print is shown with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and expressive English - DTS-HD Master Audio (5.1) track. The biggest disappointment is the lack of extras, which consists of only the theatrical trailer.


Charles Packer

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